The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is responsible for regulating the 130,000 or so solicitors practising in England and Wales and the 10,000 or so law firms that many of those solicitors practise in. The SRA sets out its obligations as a regulator as follows:
- “We set the standards for qualifying as a solicitor.
- We monitor the performance of organisations that provide legal training.
- We draft the rules of professional conduct, particularly to make sure they protect the interests of clients.
- We provide authoritative guidance and rules to solicitors on ethical issues, laws and regulations that affect solicitors’ work.
- We administer the roll (register) of solicitors.
- We provide information to the public about solicitors, their work and the standards the public is entitled to expect.
- We set requirements for solicitors’ continuing professional development.”
Based in Birmingham in the heart of the UK, the SRA employs around 600 people. It takes an evidence-based approach to its policy making, and is of the view that its regulation serves two core purposes:
to protect consumers of legal services; and
to support the operation of the rule of law and the proper administration of justice.
The SRA regulates both individual solicitors and law firms, the latter being known as ‘entity based’ regulation. The main vehicle for regulation is via the SRA Handbook which sets out the obligations and expectations of solicitors and law firms. Next week, we will look at how that regulation operates in respect of lawyers’ ethics. If you want to have a look at the Handbook before next week, you can find it here.
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